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How to Remember Late Loved Ones at Your Wedding

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Your wedding day is a big milestone in your life, so obviously you want to celebrate surrounded by the people you love – even those who have passed. But choosing how to honor late loved ones can be a challenge


First, consider if you want the acknowledgement to be just for your or shared with guests. Dealing with death is personal, so it’s important to ask yourself what’s best for you and your family.

Here are six ideas, ranging from private to public, to remember a loved on at your wedding:

1. Play Their Favorite Song

Music often carries special meaning and triggers memories. Did grandpa really love a specific jazz number? Or perhaps you and your dad had “your song.” Put it on your reception playlist to show you’re thinking of them on your big day.

2. Wear an Heirloom

This is one of the most private ways to honor a loved one. A bride can wear her mother’s wedding dress or prized earrings. Or you could wrap your bouquet in your late aunt’s handkerchief. A groom might wear his father’s watch or have a piece of his uncle’s favorite tie stitched into his suit.

3. Serve a Family Recipe

Like music, food touches the soul. Consider putting a recipe from grandma’s cookbook on the menu or serving mom’s favorite cake flavor as a quiet nod in her memory.

4. Pay Tribute in the Program

Viva Max Kaley, a New York City-based wedding planner says she most commonly sees couples mention deceased loved ones in printed ceremony programs, or the officiant refer them during ceremonies.

5. Leave an Empty Chair

“We had one couple where the bride’s brother had passed away, so on a special chair at their ceremony, they had a pair of his work gloves and his work jacket,” says Leanne Valdes, founder of Chicago-area You Name It Events.

6. Create a Photo Gallery

Place photos of your loved ones – perhaps even on their own wedding days – on a special table at the reception so that everyone can stop by to pay their respects.

Overall, you should choose a touch that’s personal and fits the person you’re honoring. “The best thing to do is think about the individual you are trying to remember and share a special touch they would appreciate,” says Valdes.

Photo by Michelle Heimerman Photography; Courtesy of Viva Max Weddings

Tags: family, planning